Land Headquarters South West Pacific Area (SWPA) LHQ / AdvLHQ)

Normal alhq03

About This Unit

Army Headquarters
briefly  General Headquarters (Aust), later post April 1942 

Allied Land Headquarters SWPA  - Australian Army WW2

Prior to the outbreak of WW2, Army HQ was located at Victoria Barracks Melbourne, and commanded the Army via the established Divisions and Military Districts (MD - roughly aligned with State boundaries).

After October 1939, Army HQ assumed command of the 2nd AIF, and the 7th MD (Darwin).

In April 1942, Army HQ was re-designated GHQ (Aust), and the army was divided into Field and Line of Communications (LoC) units.

To avoid confusion with US General McArthur's headquarters (GHQ South West Pacific Area - SWPA), the title change Allied Land Forces Headquarters HQ was applied.  Despite this, McArthur effectively retained control of all US land forces.

Advanced Land Headquarters.  Both McArthur's and Blamey's HQ relocated to Brisbane in August 1942, at this point adopting the title Advanced Land Headquarters, basing at the Forgan-Smith Building in the University of Queensland,  St Lucia.  They were focussed on operations to the north.  The component remaining in Melbourne was mainly concerned with administrative issues.

In November 1944, Blamey decided to re-locate AdvLHQ to the north coast of New Guinea assuming control of operations in New Guinea and into the Netherlands East Indies (NEI).

Australian mainland operations were handed over to LHQ in Melbourne.  A detachment also co-located with GHQ(US) in Port Moresby.  

In January 1944, when the the Forward Echelon was detached to the Philippines (see below) AdvLHQ relocated to Morotai island in the NEI, from where it assumed control of subsequent operations for the 1 Australian Corps attack on Borneo.  After the surrender it became HQ Morotai Force overseeing the Japanese surrender and repatriation efforts in the eastern part of the NEI. 

Forward Echelon Advanced Land Headquarters was formed to join GHQ at Hollandia, and an element deployed to Leyte in the Philippines, and ultimately to Manilla serving as the conduit for liaison between McArthur's HQ and Blamey who remained in Australia.

Ed note.  Headquarters had a Signals component, RAAF, RAN and US elements attached.


McKenzie-Smith, Graham 2018 "The Unit Guide The Australian Army 1939-45 Vol 1 of 6 Headquarters, Infantry, Cavalry, Armoured andIntelligence Units"  Big Sky Publishing ISBN 978-1-925675-14-6